TULSA, Okla. – An Oklahoma elementary school teacher has died after being diagnosed with the flu.
On Thursday, the Oklahoma State Department of Health announced that the number of deaths from this flu season doubled in one week. In all, 23 people have died from the flu across Oklahoma since the beginning of September.
Kristin Hutcherson, a gym teacher at Hoover Elementary School, was not at school on Monday or Tuesday because of an illness.
The 42-year-old was considered one of the most beloved teachers in school by all the students.
“We are all deeply saddened by the tragic passing of Hoover Elementary teacher Kristin Hutcherson. Kristin was a beloved member of the Hoover family. She was a dedicated teacher, treasured friend and colleague, and devoted mother, wife, and daughter. This is an incredibly difficult time for all those who knew and loved her, and we are keeping them in our thoughts and prayers. Right now, what matters most is that we do all that we can to support Kristin’s family, friends, and loved ones through this heartbreaking tragedy. In difficult situations like this one, our Office of Student and Family Support Services responds immediately to provide support to staff and make referrals to our Employee Assistance Program. Students often look to their teachers to help make sense of information that can seem unimaginable, and our counselors and social workers assist teachers with age-appropriate ways to have these difficult conversations. Our team members can also provide on-site counseling for students and teachers who need it, as well as give referrals for longer term services. Our network support services team has been at Hoover since the early morning, and we will continue to work with school leaders, teachers, and students for as long as necessary,” a statement from the Tulsa Public School District read.
Hutcherson’s family released the following statement to KJRH:
“While we are devastated and still trying to accept this tragedy, we are so grateful for the overwhelming outpouring of love and support to our family from this community. Kristin shared a tremendous amount of love with those who had the good fortune to know her. She was a loving and dedicated Mother, Wife, Daughter, Sister and Aunt, and loyal to her family and friends. She had many gifts, working tirelessly for her school and for all of her students. Teaching wasn’t just her career, it was her purpose, and she was exceptional at it. Kristin is dearly loved and missed by all of us and we will forever remember her giving spirit.”